Haiyang, China, July 18, 2018 – Hong Kong’s Pui Lam Wong/Tsz Ho Kelvin Lau may have gotten an early exit in the qualification round in their very first FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour 3-star event in Haiyang, but the pair celebrates going from part-time to full-time beach volleyball athletes.Quick links - Beach volleyball:
FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour - Haiyang
“A year ago, we had part-time jobs and trained for 10 hours a week but this year we got funding from the government and we are now full-time athletes training weekly for at least 25 hours,” said Kelvin, who used to coach a secondary school volleyball team.
“We were volleyball coaches in secondary schools. In Hong Kong, the children prefer to play volleyball than beach volleyball because of the wind conditions and the lack of beach volleyball courts.
“Only a few teams have full-time athletes. Sometimes it’s just us with our coach and some young athletes.”
The Hong Kong pair has seen action in nine FIVB World Tour events since February this year and has goals of achieving a good performance in the Asian Games to help the young Hong Kong athletes pursue playing beach volleyball.
“We’ve been playing together for four years and we have played in several World Tour events this year. We need more practice because we really want to improve on our skills. We can only do this with exposure and training overseas. We are doing this for the Asian Games and also to inspire and bring some players in Hong Kong to train beach volleyball with us.”
The farthest place that Lau/Kelvin have gone to was Muscat in Oman, and the highest ranking they have achieved in any World Tour event is a ninth place finish, but for them, the Haiyang experience is by far their most memorable.
“We played the World Tour 1-star in Oman,” Lau said. “It’s an interesting place with no mountains. There’s a lot of land but very hot. We both agree that Haiyang is our most memorable tournament so far because it is a 3-star event. It’s our first time to play in a World Tour 3-star and we are thrilled to see a lot of great beach volleyball players.”
Lau just made his first step into his biggest tournament and hopes that he can meet his hero, Brazilian beach volleyball star Bruno Oscar Schmidt.
“We both love Bruno from Brazil,” Lau said. “He’s not very tall but his defence and the way he plays in transition is very good. We really appreciate his talent and we hope to meet and play against him someday. For now, we will keep on training to improve our game."